Do you know how much tea was consumed in the year 2020 across the globe? It is a whopping 6.3 billion kilograms. This figure is supposed to reach nearly 7.4 billion kilograms by 2025. Yes, the world is full of tea lovers for sure. No wonder tea is the second most-loved non-alcoholic beverage after water in the world.
The birthplace of this aromatic beverage is China dating back to 2737 BC. Chinese folk tales say that the invention of tea is all about serendipity. The story goes like this:
A Chinese emperor was once sitting under a tea tree, Camellia sinensis, while his aide was boiling water to drink it.
Suddenly, the wind blew and some leaves from the tree fell into the boiled water.
However, instead of throwing the water, the king decided to drink it, and he liked it. And, the rest is history.
If you explore the refreshing world of tea, you will find various types of teas with varied oxidation and fermentation levels, with each one talking about its flavour, origin, taste, and of course, health perks.
If you are one of those tea +ve people who would love to expand their palate of drinking tea, we have you covered.
Here is the ‘Ultimate Guide To Different Types Of Tea And Their Benefits’. Keep brewing!
True Tea Vs. Tisanes!
Did you know not all teas are true teas? Yes, out of all the types of tea available in the market, only a handful qualifies as True Tea. It means these blends are made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
You might be wondering, what about the rest? All the other variants come under the herbal tea category or tisanes. These variants not only contain tea leaves but a mixture of bark, flowers, spices, and non-tea herbs, as well.
The Members of the True Tea Squad
The True Tea Squad comprises black, white, green, pu-erh, and oolong teas.
Black tea, also known as red tea, is the crushed, curled, shredded, dried, and oxidised version of the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Black tea gets its dark and strong flavour profile from the complete oxidation it undergoes. Some of the most common variants of black tea are Assam tea, Darjeeling tea, Ceylon tea, Earl Grey, Yunnan tea, Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, to name a few.
Black Tea: Benefits
- It is good for your heart, gut, and overall health.
- It has exceptional antioxidant properties, which protects your body from oxidative stress due to increased free radicals.
Green tea is the fresh or dried and steamed or slightly heated variant of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is not oxidised. So, it boasts about its crisp and light flavour profile ranging from buttery, grassy and fruity to nutty. Some common green tea variants are Laoshan, Matcha, Biluochun, Sencha, and Gyokuro.
Green Tea: Benefit
- It improves alertness and visual acuity.
- It fights free radicals and guards your body against oxidative stress.
- It improves your brain and heart health.
- It also helps increase the benefits you can leverage from fasting.
Popular as Black Dragon and Wulong tea, it is a semi-oxidised tea available as whole leaves. As far as the flavour profile, aroma, and colour are concerned, it depends on the oxidation level. The thumb rule is that the lower the level of oxidation, the lighter the colour.
There are different types of oolong teas available in the market. These include Pouchong, Bai Hao, Feng Huang Dan Cong, Tung Ting, etc.
Oolong Tea: Benefits
- Although less popular than its cousins, oolong tea is rich in antioxidants including thearubigins, catechins, and theaflavins.
- It protects your body from the mars of free radicals.
- Like the other members of the True Tea club, it also supports heart and brain health.
It is a fermented tea and quite pricey than its other cousins. It is made using the leaves and stems of the tea plant and has its roots in the Yunnan province of China. You can find pu-erh tea in the form of dried leaves or cakes.
These tea leaves are harvested and tossed with hands in giant-sized woks. This process stops oxidation. After that, the leaves are matured in a humid environment. From there, it gets its distinct aroma and flavour. Pu-erh is rich and dark, and this profile varies depending on the maturity of the leaves. The variants of pu-erh tea include young, aged and ripe.
Pu-erh Tea: Benefits
- It has antioxidant properties.
- It improves mental alertness.
- It is a healthy beverage for your skin and heart.
White tea is derived from the young leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis plant. It holds the most delicate flavour profile among all the members of the True Tea family. Once harvested, the leaves and buds are fried or steamed before drying to stop the process of oxidation.
It has a light and fruity flavour profile. In comparison to its cousins, its caffeine content is low. Some of the common types of white tea available in the market include Shou Mai, Darjeeling white tea, White Peony and Silver Needle.
White Tea: Benefits
- As it is a minimally processed tea, it is very rich in antioxidants (catechins).
- It fights oxidative stress and makes you feel good.
- It prevents inflammation and dental problems.
- It makes a good brew for your brain and heart.
Herbal teas you can pour and enjoy!
Although not True Teas, you can brew and sip your herbal teas the same way you enjoy their counterparts. Let us take a look at the list of herbal teas:
- Chamomile tea
- Hibiscus tea
- Ginger tea
- Mint tea
- Rooibos tea
And the brewing continues!
Regardless of how you like your cuppa, a nicely brewed tea will never disappoint you. Right from elevating your mood to taking care of your health, a good cup of tea can do wonders.
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